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Decoding The Future Of Indian MSMEs

The theme BW Businessworld enthralled upon was-MSMEs In India: The Next Chapter, is a very relevant key topic in the rapidly changing times we live in today as they are the true drivers of economic growth

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Giving a major boost to the economy, micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) have always held an important position in the country. BW Businessworld hosted a virtual event on MSMEs on June 27, 2022, in recognition of their importance.

The conclave touched upon the key points — digitalisation of MSMEs, the latest industry trends in MSMEs, and how they can be brought to a global scale. Earlier, MSMEs adopted the physical model to establish and galvanise their identity, but now with digital methods, sales can be increased. 

At the micro and small industrial level, digital transformation is at an experimental stage. 

Speaking at the panel discussion on "Digitalisation of MSMEs", Anshuman Agrawal, Founder, MD, Minimac Systems, stressed the importance of technology by saying, "When you have a startup, you need a scalable model, which is not run by a single professional but multiple professionals, and in such a scenario, digitisation is inevitable." 

Adding further to this topic, Ketan Patel, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at Mswipe Technologies said that if startups are not digitally present, they will not be provided loans by the formal sector. Moreover, digitalisation helps with transaction data. 

Taking the discussion ahead, Nildari Basu, Founder of Enkebee, talked about the challenges faced by MSMEs in rural areas. He said, "Rural areas face difficulties connecting to the network and because of this, people cannot have access to the technology. It is an important, user-friendly interface. "

At the same panel, Sanat Satyan, Director, Crediwatch suggested that the founders of MSMEs  should address the feasibility of the product with data, reach out to merchants and potential customers, test their product effectively, and then find a viable solution. Adding on, he said that there is enough comfort in the system to ensure cyber security is taken care of.

In a "Fireside Chat" with Srinath Sridharan, Corporate Advisor, he shed light on the status of MSMEs during the pandemic. 

Sridharan said, "MSMEs have not fully recovered from the pandemic. The economy is growing and is on the rise, but it has not been inclusive enough to take MSMEs along. The issues of working capital and overdue receivables have been of concern. Both the centre and the states are equal stakeholders in the MSME sector. MSME is all about appreciating the local sector."

Sridharan also mentioned an interesting programme — the Ramp Programme for MSME — which was announced in the Union Budget. 

Sridharan added, "For the domestic market, MSMEs and SMEs can have an equal voice on digital platforms. The government should set up digital programmes for the domestic market to help them adapt to the digital system."

When asked how MSMEs can grow in sustainable development, Sridharan responded that MSMEs should map industry trends; the government should provide them with knowledge about material sciences and associated product capacity; provide financial incentives for sustainability practices; and if banks or financial systems look at the GST credits that MSMEs have in their banks, they can actually lend them financial aid.

The conclave also featured a panel discussion titled "Time for Indian MSMEs to Go Global," in which Kalyan Basu, Director-Vayana (IFSC) and EVP-Vayana Network, stated that "96 per cent of Indian MSMEs are micro industries; they must be globalised in order to reach out to foreign markets."

"We underestimate the resilience of the MSMEs." They are more agile than many corporations. Indian entrepreneurs and managers are smarter than many other countries. This is our competitive advantage. That's the reason most of the world's CEOs are from India," said Dhiraj Agarwal, Co-Founder, Campus Sutra.

Earlier, most brands wanted to sell directly to their customers. E-commerce was thought to be only suitable for large companies. However, the ecosystem today is shaping in such a way that one can directly sell products to its customers. Things are going to reverse soon. The ones who have a stronger business model can definitely sustain in this environment, commented Akash Gehani, Co-Founder, Instamojo.

Srinivas Chundru, Founder, said, "There should be innovation in funding. The whole world is moving towards sustainable digitisation now." 

Having a similar opinion, Basu said that MSMEs should get funding not only from Indian banks but from global firms too. 

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World MSME Day 2022 virtual event